3D PRINTING & SUSTAINABILITY

3D PRINTING & SUSTAINABILITY

Personally, I am fascinated with innovations that 3D Printing has brought to our lives. Every day we can find new ideas, like printing delicious pieces of chocolate, built structures like Michael Hansmeyer’s grotto, and low-cost prosthetic limbs for humans and animals. The possibilities of building and construction are now endless.

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Photo Credit: 3D Systems Culinary Lab: Brown Sugar Cubes

Photo Credit: 3D Print Headquarters: Choc Edge, by Dr. Liang Hao of the University of Exeter.

Photo Credit: The Tech Bulletin: Choc Edge, by Dr. Liang Hao of the University of Exeter.

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Photo Credit: designboom

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Photo Credit: www.inhabitat.com

3D printing (3DP) has opened up a new era for design & technology. Can this be an evolution for sustainable design? 3DP and sustainable design are closely related. Aesthetic expression of the beauty within sustainability becomes closer to reality through 3DP technology. Nature always tries to attain an “elegant efficiency” that we humans mimic. Architectural design takes time to evolve and takes shape in timeless forms. In my opinion, architectural design cannot be truly beautiful until it is sustainable. 3DP technology can help design to be more elegantly efficient if we master the tool well.

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WHAT IS SUSTAINABILITY?

Sustainability is a long-term balance of three equal parts  ̶  environmental, social and economic values in our lifestyle. I believe the reason we are unbalanced is because we need to integrate more environmental care back into our social/economic lives. One example would be toys. Toys are not a need, but entertainment, and will eventually become landfill. But if we explore 3D printed wood or natural filaments that can either be systematically recycled or biodegrade easier than traditional plastics with harmful toxins (BPA, phthalates, etc.), we might be able to decrease some of the diseases that are increasing annually.

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Photo Credit: 3D With Us

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Photo Credit: All About 3D Printing

By ‘greening’ our lifestyles, cutting out pollutants and toxins that enter our bodies’ systems, we can prevent diseases from rising and increase the numbers of strong & healthy communities all over the world. Our daily products, systems and buildings can foster healthier lifestyles through 3DP and Sustainable ideas.

LOOKING UP   |   THE   SOLUTION

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Photo Credit: designboom, Vulcan: The world’s largest 3D-printed architectural pavilion

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Photo Credit: designboom, Vulcan: The world’s largest 3D-printed architectural pavilion

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Photo Credit: designboom, Vulcan: The world’s largest 3D-printed architectural pavilion

3D printing technology continues to drop the costs of consumer products and increase opportunities for customized design. According to the Department of Energy, 3D printing uses 50% less energy and 90% material than traditional mass production assembly lines. This will quickly change the way we build in the 21st century and change architecture, as it has already been doing.

*Thanks to Veronique Pryor, Jeannye Dudley, all the principals and colleagues for the support of this sustainable movement.

Helen Chen

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